§ Mr. Arthur Lewis
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if, having regard to the fact that since May 1979 top salaries have risen between 39 per cent. to 118 per cent., additional to the tax reductions for the top income groups, he will cause an investigation to be made to ascertain to what extent these salary increases adversely affect the Government's policy of containing and reducing inflation.
§ Mr. Brittan
The figures quoted in the question appear to derive from the survey of salary increases for the highest paid board member of 50 companies, based on their published reports and accounts, conducted for the "Money Programme" of 1 February. If so, they are incorrect; the increase of 39.9 per cent. was an average, not a minimum figure, and the programme made clear that many of the increases were substantially lower than this.
Further, as the programme indicated, these figures do not necessarily give a full picture across the whole field of top salaries. Other recent surveys, which appear to have taken a rather wider sample, suggest that average increases for top managers generally have been well below the levels reported by the BBC, and indeed below the increase in average earnings for similar periods.
I see no reason for any investigation, nor any useful purpose that would be served.